Driving while intoxicated (DWI) pertains to the same driving under the influence (DUI) offense, depending on the state you were pulled over. It’s considered a crime and a traffic violation that can change your life. Don’t get stuck with a criminal offense by knowing what you need to do.
In this article, you’ll learn below the steps you need to take after receiving a DWI charge:
- Hire A DWI Lawyer
A lawyer is the best person who can help with your DWI case. This professional will represent you in the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) proceedings and before the criminal court. Choose one who is specialized in your case to better your chances of getting your case dismissed or winning it altogether.
However, looking for a reputable lawyer can be difficult. Don’t worry. Check the following essential things to consider when looking for a good DWI attorney to represent you:
- Specialization: Choose a lawyer specializing in DWI cases, one who is well knowledgeable with the relevant information to handle your case.
- Experience: A well-experienced DWI attorney is familiar with the entire defense tactics needed, which you precisely require. Therefore, when searching, it’s important to prioritize those lawyers who have served in this field for a long time.
- References: A good DWI lawyer will be glad to provide a reference of previous clients. Hire a lawyer who has the best feedback.
- Reputation: Don’t settle for someone who has a stained reputation. Choose a DWI lawyer with a good track record to increase your chances of winning the case.
- Fees: This factor is the least consideration. But, it’s also essential to hire a lawyer whose services are within your budget.
- Know The Legal Process And Options
After a typical DWI charge is a hearing in which the defendant (arrested driver) is formally charged (arraignment) with a crime. It’s either the defendant pleads guilty or not. Here are your legal options when dealing with a DWI charge:
- Plead guilty for the DWI charge
- Plea bargaining to a lesser charge
- Request a court trial before a judge
- Request a jury trial
When fighting a DWI charge, be ready to face an uphill battle. Generally, a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level of 0.08% would warrant a DWI conviction regardless of behavior. But, a DWI lawyer can always challenge the test results and possibly beat the charge if your BAC was below the legal limit.
- Know The Penalties
Even if it’s your first offense, it’s a serious crime to drive while intoxicated. It’s important to be prepared with the drunk driving penalties so that you can resolve them and move on to the next stage. Here are the possible penalties of a DWI charge:
- Fines ranging from US$500 to US$2,000
- Up to one-year imprisonment
- License suspension
- House arrest
- Community service
- Use of ignition interlock device (the vehicle won’t start until the driver passes the breathalyzer test)
- Vehicle impoundment
- Victim impact program participation
- Participation in an alcohol program or drug abuse treatment or prevention program
More severe penalties apply if the defendant’s BAC level was considerably higher (double or more) than the legal limit. The same goes if the accident resulted in injury or death.
- DWI Arrest Options
Being arrested for a DWI charge also entails some critical considerations to reduce its impact on your work and personal life. If you’ve been arrested for a DWI charge, here are your options:
- Find A Bail Bondsman: After a DWI arrest, posting bail is usually requires an upfront fee. The fee is less than paying bail to the court. The responsibility of a bail bondsman is to guarantee your presence at court hearings. If you don’t appear during court hearings, the bondsman will look for you.
- Request A DMV Hearing: Once arrested for a DWI charge, the defendant has a limited number of days to request for a DMV hearing to determine if the he can keep his license. It’s usually 10 days, including holidays and weekends. Without a formal request for a DMV hearing, the driver’s license of the defendant will be immediately suspended after this time allowance.
After receiving a DWI charge, it’s vital to hire a DWI lawyer to represent you before the court and the DMV proceedings. The possible legal options include pleading guilty, plea bargaining, or requesting a court or jury trial. When arrested for a DWI charge, consider hiring a bail bond agent and request for a DMV hearing to prevent suspension of your driver’s license.